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sports@gaUsva\.uuB)prta.(.i • liiursdiy. nmember 19.2009 


SPORTS 



HEADING UP The Pandas grabbed both games in B.C.Iast weekend to move up in the CIS top 10. 


Hardwood Pandas return 
home after B.C. sweep 

Number-nine ranked Alberta ready for another top-10 opponent 


NATHAN LIEVVIOKI 

Sports Staff 


Fresh off a pair of victories on the west coast 
against the fifth-ranked Victoria Vikes and the 
UBC Thunderbirds, the hoop Pandas return home 
for a pair of heavyweight tilts with the fourth- 
ranked Regina Cougars. 

The Pandas enter the weekend tied with pro¬ 
vincial rival Calgary atop the Prairie division 
standings in the Canada West with a 5—1 record, 
and will be looking to carry over their solid road 
play into their first home game since Halloween. 
The Cougars sit right behind the Pandas and 
Dinos in the conference standings with a 3—1 
record. 

Regina defeated Alberta at the Pandas anntial 
Hoopfest Invitational in early October, controlling 
the play and tempo for rhe enrire game on their 
way to a 70—57 win. There are. however many 
similarities between the two squads and that 
sliould result in two tightly contested and enrer- 
taining contests this weekend. 

"They got the 1 tetter of us in the preseason, but 
1 like how we're playing right now. and I would 
take this team into any game right now," head 
coach Scott Edwards noted. 

"Regina and us are really similar type teams — 
one big forward inside, a bunch of athletic play¬ 
ers on the perimeter, and quality point guards." 

Against the Cougars, the Pandas will need 
to establish a presence on the offensive glass if 
they’re to create second chance scoring oppor¬ 
tunities. Defensively, the Pandas will need to 
rebound consistently if they hope to prevent 
Regina's Brittany Read from having easy put- 
back baskets. 


"Rebounding is going to be huge for us. We 
need to be consistent with ourefforts at both ends 
of the floor [...] Regina generates lots of opportu¬ 
nities off offensive rebounding and bustle plays," 
Edwards explained. 

Another key for the Pandas will be stopping 
Regina's starting shooting guard Joanna Zalesiak, 
whodropped 20 pointson the Pandas at Hoopfest. 
Originally from Poland, Zalesiak played last 
season at the University of Texas at El Paso and 
her transfer to Regina has provided them with a 
strong presence in the backcourt. 

"last time we didn’t know much about her as 
a player, but now we have been able to scout her 
and be more prepared for her," Edwards said. 
"We will need to get a hand up and contest every 
shot and hopefully we’re able to make her miss 
quite a bit.” 

In the preseason, moreover, Regina opened 
the game on a 13-4 run and completely took the 
Pandas out of their rhythm. The Pandas will need 
to jump off to good starts if they hope to outlast 
the Cougars this time arouncL 

This weekend’s games against Regina mark the 
start of a tough four-game home stretch for the 
Pandas going into the Christmas break, which 
also includes a pair of games against number- 
two Saskatchewan. 

’’We have to come out with some confidence 
in our game. These are two huge weekends and 
hopefully we can net a few wins and keep our 
momentum going into [the break]," Edwards 
stated 

The Pandas and Cougars will renew their Canada 
West rivalry on Friday and Saturday, with tip-off 
scheduled for 6 p.m. both nights The games can 
also be heard online at pandas.ualbertaxa 


WEEKEND 
START TIMES 


BASKETBALL 
FRI. NOV. 20 SAT. NOV. 21 

Pandas vs. Lethbridge 
6 pm, Main Gym 



Bears vs. Lethbridge 
8 pm. Main Gym 



HOCKEY 

FRI. NOV. 20 SAT. NOV. 21 

Bears vs. Calgary 
730 p.m„ Clare Drake Arena 



Basket-Bears looking to rebound after tough losses 



PETE Y EE 


BAKER'S DOZEN Bears rookie Jordan Baker has been an offensive constant 
this season, averaging 12 points per game — second best on the team. 


EMERSON CSORBA 

Sports Staff 


Following two close losses this pas; 
weekend on the road against Victoria 
and number-two ranked UBC, the 
Bears basketball team will look to 
rebound when they host the Regina 
Cougars (1—3) this weekend. Sitting 
at 4-2 in the Canada West, the Bears 
bold second spot in the Prairie divi¬ 
sion. four points dear of third-place 
Saskatchewan. 

Despite the losses on the road to a 
pair of tough opponents, the Bears 
took positives out of their weekend 
road swing to B.C. 

“Our guys played as good defen¬ 
sively as they could against UBC. We 
had it down tied late in the game, so 
we’re getting close," Francis stated. 

Among the bright spots for the 
Bears this past weekend was Jordan 
Baker, who dropped 15 and 14 
points, each good for team highs 
against UBC and Victoria. Also stand¬ 
ing out for the Bears was Scott Leigh, 
who amassed five assists, nine points 
and four rebounds against Victoria. 

Jamaal Bucknor and Sahr SatTa 
also hit double-digits in points in 
each contest. 

“Jamaal's lieen consistent all year, 
he's a competitive force inside. The 
last two weekends liave been a com¬ 
ing-out party for Sahr. 

"He's really matured defensively, 
and is playing well for us on both 
sides of the ball." 

Compared to UBC, a perennial 


basketball powerhouse, Regina may 
not look imposing. Still, the Cougars 
flaunt some players to watch out for. 
Kris Heshka is leading die team with 
offensively, averaging 12.5 points 
per game and is averaging nearly a 
double-double. Paul Schubach and 
Sterling Nostedt can dial it up from 
beyond t lie arc, while Jamal Williams 
lias been solid as well, averaging 11.5 
points and 6 rebounds per game. Jeff 
Lukomskil, in particular, is on a 1km 
streak, having netted a season-high 
25 points in a recent Regina loss to 
Trinity Western. 

Shutting down Heshka and 
Williams will lie a key defensively 
for the Green and Gold. 

"[Heshka] is definitely a tough 
inside player. Williams is also a ver¬ 
satile player and can knock down 
big shots for them," Francis said. 

Alberta has answers of their own 
on die offensive end of die floor for 
the Cougars’ sharp shooters. Harvey 
Bradford, who knocked down 12 
points in an exliibition against 
Gonzaga earlier in the season, rou¬ 
tinely scores in die double-digit range 

’’He’s t he hea rt a nd soul of ou r tea m; 
his toughness brings ns together. He 
has the sort of experience that makes 
the younger guys on the team play 
better," Francis explained. 

The Bears also liave been one 
of the conference's best defensive 
squads through six games this 
season, ranking third in the Canada 
West defensively by giving up a 
stingy 65.7 points per game. 


With two wins, tlie Bears, at tile 
very worst will keep themselves 
tied atop die ultra-competitive 
Canada West. 

’’We're getting to a point in the year 
where we want to see us get better 
each week Playing hard and consis¬ 
tent is sometliing dial we need to do 


all game if we a re going to pick up two 
wins against Regina," Francis said. 

The Bears liegin play this Friday at 
8 p.m. in die Main Gym, and then 
lip ofT game two of the double-header 
at the same time on Saturday. The 
games can also be heard online at 
bears.ualberta.ca